How Serving as an Awards Jurist Can Make You a Better Creative

Leah Snyder, a member of the creative team in Fingerpaint’s Conshohocken office, was selected to participate in the MM&M Awards as part of their Young Jurist program. She shared her experience as a first-time participant.

What was your experience like?

I reviewed the work prior to the live judging day and came to the table with an idea of how I thought each campaign would stack up. I also had a mentor who I was connected with prior to the event who I could refer to with any questions I had about the process. On the day of the judging, I met the other jurists in my group. They were a mix of people in different roles, from different agencies, and based in various locations.

It was really interesting to hear the discourse around each individual entry. I found that sometimes I was in agreement with the other jurists, and other times they brought up great points that I hadn’t considered. Having the opportunity to discuss the work as a group challenged me to expand my point of view around what makes a campaign successful.

How can what you learned on the judging panel help you in your job?

At work, I am constantly trying to push myself creatively—from campaign concepts to brand identities. More than that, I want these ideas to connect with the target audience and convey the brand strategy.

Participating in the judging panel gave me more understanding of the critical thought processes used to evaluate the work. Because the judging was so thorough, we were able to analyze and critique the entire campaign development process from start to finish. It gave me more constructive insights and checkpoints to consider when evaluating my own work and the work of my teammates.

How did the creative stack up with your expectations?

The work itself lined up somewhat how I thought it might—I had a few favorites at the end of the day that I felt stood out more than the others. The range of work submitted was wider than I thought it would be. Some campaigns felt empowering, some were humorous, and some were bold or serious. A few campaigns leveraged celebrities as a way to connect with the target audience. Different brand strategies and audiences dictated the diverse approaches and personalities of each campaign.

What did you enjoy most about participating in the judging?

I really loved being able to see the latest work that other agencies in the industry are creating. Being able to break down the campaign processes to see how the research, planning, and strategies were followed through by the creative execution was really inspiring.

What was something that surprised you most about the judging? 

I was surprised by how thorough the judging was. The comprehensive process made us evaluate the campaign development as a whole by taking a close look at every level, including research, planning, strategy, creative, execution, and results. Some campaigns were stronger in certain categories than others.